New book, new merch, and convention cancellations

The worst time to launch anything is during a pandemic, unless you happen to have the cure to the virus. My new book, Tales of the Fantastical, is not a cure, and it was due to launch tomorrow at Dublin Comic Con. Following the advice of the HSE, the convention is postponed until August.

The book, however, is already out! Kindle and paperback editions are available on Amazon.

I had hoped to have the book and new stock available at the convention this weekend, but it wasn’t meant to be. Thankfully, I had an opportunity to put everything on the Limit Break Comics store, to join the comics for a brief period. All of those copies will be signed!

New Merchandise

The new merchandise comes in the form of a new zine, a new writing guide, new stickers, and a range of bookmarks.

The Necromancer’s Field Guide to Raising a Family is a short zine written as if from the point of view of Arnold Schultz in The Black Pages.

25 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block is a slightly revised version of an ebook I wrote in 2014, published in print for the first time in this square book. It’s colour-coded to match Pocket Prompts, with each chapter providing the thinking behind a day-to-day practice anyone can do along with an exercise focused on writing something as a result.

My new bookmarks are all perfect for small books, designed to make the reading experience fun even as it ends. I’ll be designing more in the future, because they were a ton of fun to produce, and I’ve wanted to do them for years without having a printer that could do them affordably.

I love stickers, almost as much as I love pins, and right now they’re within my budget to produce. I had a ton of fun working on new quirky designs, and restocking on some of my old favourites from last summer. A big shout-out to Gary Moloney for his assistance with the Irish translation on my Comics are for Everyone (in Irish) sticker; I also worked with him making the Cork Mafia sticker.

Quiet around these parts…

Dublin is quiet. Irish events are shut down for the foreseeable future. I might be lucky and still get to do my first event of the year in May, otherwise I’m not sure what the future holds for my other creative outlets that aren’t writing.

Still, it could be worse. I have the advantage of already working remotely for my day job as a part-time copywriter, so I’m not out of work or needing to leave the house every morning. I’m putting time aside to write more regularly to complete the fourth book in The Black Pages. With that will come a relaunch of the series with new covers.

Chat soon!

I’ve been wanting to blog more often, but long-form content can take a lot of time and I need to focus on fiction for the time being. With that said, expect shorter posts, covering a bunch of different topics.

In the meantime, I need to get back to work writing my novel, and planning a short series, with a friend from Cup├ín Fae likely to check in on me in the near future to see how much progress I’ve made.

The virus has made the future uncertain in a lot of ways, but it’s the best time to sit back and do some writing. Let’s see how self-isolation works.

Pocket Prompt Expansion: Something Explodes #6 – The Aftermath

In our discourse about explosions – a sentence I never thought I’d write – we’ve looked at the sort of explosion, the cause of the explosion, and began to look at the aftermath. Today, we’re solely focusing on how the world looks after the explosion.

Literal explosions are maybe easier to imagine for this, so we’ll ease into the discussion today that way, and expand as we go. Some simple questions to get you started:

  • Is there a death toll?
  • Was a key piece of infrastructure damaged?
  • Is the location of the story shut down as a result of the explosion?
  • Are there police out to contain crowds?
  • Are there riots?
  • If it was localised, how is the neighbourhood effected?
  • If it is distant, how many people witnessed it?

Other things you might want to consider:

  • What sort of scale was this explosion?
  • Was it nuclear? How does the fallout affect the plot?
  • Does your story include magic? How does a magical explosion change the plot?
  • Does your story include elements of sci-fi? Are there aliens? Are there robots? What does a sci-fi explosion do your world?
  • If the explosion is a natural disaster, are you character caught in the middle of it? What is there role? Civilian or rescue worker?

There are many other ways to interpret this, and I’d love to hear some ideas in the comments. In the meantime, we’ll move onto the aftermath of an emotional explosion.

Emotions can run high for a number of reasons, as we explored in the second post for this card. A story can greatly shift as a result of either good or bad news. Use the following questions to prompt a further exploration of the aftermath of an emotional explosion, and see what other questions you might be able to ask and answer.

  • Is there an argument? Does it cause characters to stop talking?
  • If yes, will you write both points of view?
  • Will the characters make up? What is necessary to bring them back together?
  • How does your protagonist losing a close friend or loved one affect their story?
  • How does your protagonist cope after an argument?
  • Who is responsible?

Shifting away from anger and towards happiness:

  • If your protagonist received good news, how will this change their life?
  • Will their emotional state shift from happiness into something else?
  • Will others understand and be supportive?
  • What can go wrong to disrupt the happiness your protagonist feels?
  • How can your protagonist use their optimism to keep going?

The same sorts of questions can be asked about any sort of emotional explosion. The key points to focus on are the parties involved, how their relationship is affected, who is responsible, whether people are supportive, and what can or has to change for things to either move forward or go back to the way they were before.

In future posts, we’ll look at long-term consequences of the explosion, and explore how the story might be different if things could be prevented, covering both literal and emotional explosions.

Have you got your deck of Pocket Prompts yet? Order a set today!

Pocket Prompt Expansion: Something Explodes #2 – Emotional Reactions

Previously, we looked at the ‘Something explodes’ card from the point of view of taking it literally. Now it’s time to step it up a notch.

In this series of posts, I’m going to show you how this one card can be used to tell many different types of stories, and affect much more change than you might imagine.

Something Explodes - Literal or Emotional

The natural follow-up to a literal explosion is a metaphorical explosion. In this case, one small plot point can have a knock-on effect for your characters: an emotional reaction.

Emotions are complicated and varied, which makes this a useful reminder that your characters should feel more than one thing and at more than one level. How a character feels affects how they act, and how they act affects the plot.

Some things to consider:

  • Is it a happy reaction? (e.g. cheering)
  • Is it an angry reaction? (e.g. shouting)
  • Is it a sad reaction? (e.g. crying)
  • Is it a fearful reaction? (e.g. screaming)

The Pixar movie Inside Out explores this concept of emotion well, and demonstrates an important fact to remember: emotional reactions are rarely just one thing.

As we grow older, and develop more intimate relationships, an explosion of emotion can come from a place of anger and sadness, happiness and fear, or any other combination of the above at different levels of potency – an unpredictable emotional cocktail that you wouldn’t order at the bar.

Have you got your deck of Pocket Prompts yet? Order a set today!